With the B.C. Liberals reeling from this week's news that four key members would not be seeking re-election next year, local MLAs on both sides of the political divide are weighing in on what that might mean for the future of B.C.'s political landscape.
MLAs who announced they would not be returning were Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, John Les and Mary McNeil.
To Surrey-Green Timbers NDP MLA Sue Hammell, the recent announcements are a sign that the Liberals are going through some tough times and shows there are cracks in the party's solidarity.
"I think it must be a very significant challenge for premier Christy Clark," said Hammell. "It also signals to the community that there is significant trouble on the Liberal side of the (legislative assembly)."
Hammell also pointed out that Falcon and Abbott were Clark's main competition during the campaign to replace Gordon Campbell as leader of the B.C. Liberals.
"For Kevin and George to step away at this time must be very concerning for Christy and she said. "The people who ran against her are leaving and they were a very significant strength in terms of the front bench of her government."
But for Liberal Stephanie Cadieux, MLA for Surrey-Panorama, the announcements aren't an indication of a party in trouble, but rather people deciding to take some personal time after serving the public for so long.
"Some of the folks that have made their decisions in the past couple of days have been serving the public for a very long time and these are very demanding jobs. They take you away from your family," said Cadieux. "I'm not surprised they may be looking for some extra time at home. They've all been fantastic leaders in our party and fantastic people serving British Columbia."
Cadieux had words of praise for Falcon in particular, who acted as a mentor of sorts to the first-time MLA when she began her political career.
"Kevin has been a great mentor and was very supportive from the time I first ran and he taught me the ins-and-outs of working in Victoria and serving constituents," she said. "I can't say enough to thank him."
Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg said the announcements were receiving a lot of media attention, but noted that the total number of Liberal MLAs not returning was on par with past elections.
"The number of people not returning is in the range of about 15, which is not terribly different from the numbers we've seen before," he said.
As for the future of the party, Hogg admitted there are challenges ahead, but remained confident his party could overcome them.
"Often, it's not what you say, it's what you do and you can't talk yourself out of something you've behaved yourself into," he said. "So this government has to work hard in the remaining eight or nine months to demonstrate we do have what it takes to make the right decisions for the province."
Cadieux and Hogg said they both intend to run again in 2013.
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